The Netflix instant queue is dead. But don't fret, subscribers; your streaming experience isn't going to change drastically. Instead, the company is working to modernize what has for years remained a static list of movies and TV shows its customers eventually hope to watch. "We’ve found through talking to our customers that though many people found it useful, we could still improve the experience," writes Michael Spiegelman, who heads up product innovation at Netflix. Just how do Spiegelman and Co. plan to "improve" a core fixture of the service? Well the list is sticking around, but Netflix will now automatically reorder it based on what it thinks you'll want to watch at any given moment. Once you've added a few titles to My List, the company's algorithms go to work, placing films and shows you're likely to click "play" on up front.
It's an aggressive step, and suggests Netflix is growing more confident in a recommendation engine powered by years of user viewership data. The movie suggestion "assistant" Max is another such example. Thankfully you can still do things the old-fashioned way and sort My List manually if you so choose. And should you ignore the feature entirely, the My List row will gradually fall lower on your Netflix home screen. Kicking the "queue" term makes sense from a business perspective, considering it's been around since the days when Netflix's primary income came from mailing out DVD rentals. Customers have long had the freedom to watch what they want whenever they want.
Netflix is also making improvements elsewhere. Namely, customers will now see a special "call out" when a movie or TV show will soon vanish from the service due to an expired license. It's not quite as useful as a dedicated "Expiring Soon" row of content would be, but it's something. Netflix says that within the next two weeks, the instant queue will be phased out worldwide in favor of My List. Yes, that means international users are finally joining the fun.